Ernst Karel is Assistant Director of the Film Study Center, Lab Manager for the Sensory Ethnography Lab, and Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard.

Ernst Karel makes electroacoustic music and experimental nonfiction sound works for multichannel installation and performance. His recent projects are edited/composed using unprocessed location recordings; in performance he sometimes combines these with analog electronics to create pieces which move between the abstract and the documentary. Recent sound projections have been presented at Oboro, Montreal; EMPAC, Troy NY; Arsenal, Berlin; and the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Sound installations in collaboration with Helen Mirra have been exhibited at Culturgest, Lisbon; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Audiorama, Stockholm; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; and in the 2012 Sao Paulo Bienal. Video with multichannel sound collaborations include Ah humanity! (2015, with Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel) and Single Stream (2014, with Toby Lee and Pawel Wojtasik). Other projects include the long-running electroacoustic duo EKG, and the location recording/performance collective the New England Phonographers Union. As an improvisor and performer on trumpet and/or analog electronics, or as a composer, he has participated in recordings released on the Another Timbre, Apraxia, Thrill Jockey, Locust, BoxMedia, Truckstop, Drag City, Lucky Kitchen, Sedimental, Crouton, Formed, and and/OAR record labels, among others. Karel collaborates with video and filmmakers as a sound recordist, mixer, and sound designer. Nonfiction vilms on which he has done sound work include The Iron Ministry, Manakamana, Sweetgrass, and Leviathan, all produced in the Sensory Ethnography Lab.

Karel received his BA from the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, in Comparative Religion. He received his MA and PhD from the Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago, where his doctoral research crossed between the disciplines of cultural psychology, anthropology, and ethnomusicology. His fieldwork-based dissertation, Kerala Sound Electricals: Amplified sound and cultural meaning in South India, was a study in the anthropology of sound.

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